Russia 1-2 Slovakia: Vladimir Weiss and Marek Hamsik stun Golden Eagles in Lille

first_imgEngland and Wales’ Group B rivals played out an enthralling encounter in Lille with Slovakia beating Russia 2-1 and edging themselves closer to round of 16 qualification.Slovakia, having been beaten by the Welsh in their opening game, bounced back with goals from Vladimir Weiss and the classy Marek Hamsik putting them ahead before the break.Russia, meanwhile, put in another lacklustre performance and were unable to get a draw from the match despite Denis Glushakov’s header sending their opponents into a panic late on.Slovakia’s early forays were met by a tight back-four and the deep-lying Roman Neustadter and Aleksandr Golovin, allowing very little space for through balls.Meanwhile, at the opposite end, Artem Dzyuba’s attempts to occupy Martin Skrtel and Jan Durica appeared futile, with his best moments coming when he dropped deep to greet Fyodor Smolov.A left-foot shot whizzed over Igor Akinfeev’s bar as Hamsik looked to make his mark on the game early on, but he and his team-mates failed to take advantage of early set-pieces.Russia’s attacks were limited and when they did get forward they seemed rushed and wasteful as Smolov shanked a half-volley well wide, before Durica slid in superbly to end a Dzyuba run in the box.Smolov got closer to hitting the target with a curling daisy-cutter, but Matus Kozacik seemed unperturbed between the Slovakian sticks.Napoli star Hamsik was always likely to be a key figure in the game and, with 32 minutes on the clock, his wonderful ball to the left side of the box finally picked the lock.Weiss collected the pass and his shift inside sent two defenders skidding the wrong way, allowing him to shuffle right  and slip the ball past Akinfeev with ease to open the scoring.Russia’s attempts to equalise before the half-time whistle only proceeded to open the game up and it was no surprise when Slovakia doubled their lead.After receiving a short corner from ex-Manchester City winger Weiss, the classy Hamsik dashed into the box and, after beating Oleg Shatov far too easily, he whipped a strike in off the post, celebrating with arms outstretched in front of his own fans.Following the break, Russia seemed, once again, unable to threaten Kozacik, with Shatov smashing a shot off target and the forward players appearing to lack any kind of connection.Juraj Kucka showed flashes of brilliance in midfield for Slovakia but their opponents were gaining momentum in the match, thanks to set-pieces, while Smolov was denied by a flailing block from Durica.As substitutions littered the game, neither side looked in full flow and Slovakia were more than happy to sit off their opponents, who offered little in the way of a threatening presence.But just as it looked like the game was ebbing away from them, Russia hit back as Glushakov headed Shatov’s cross beyond Kozacik.The goal sent Slovakia into a panic and, having looked solid for most of the match, then seemed unable to hang onto the ball and repel the opposition.Glushakov scuffed wide, while Smolov, again, and Dzyuba had efforts blocked as they battled for an equaliser.It was all in vain though, and Slovakia take a step closer to round of 16 qualification, while Russia are facing the very real possibility of going home early. 1 Slovakia midfielder Marek Hamsik celebrates scoring at Euro 2016 last_img

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